denver city council

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Colorado: Recreational Marijuana Sales Top $5 Million In First Week


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado's newly legal recreational marijuana shops made bank in the first week of legal sales.

The 37 new recreational cannabis dispensaries around the state reported first-week retail sales adding up to about $5 million, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

Colorado expects retail cannabis sales to reach $600 million a year, from which it expects to collect almost $70 million in taxes. No official sales figures will be available before February 20, when businesses are required to file January tax reports, according to Julie Postlethwait of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

New Year's Day sales, on the first day the shops were allowed to open, topped $1 million, according to Denver's 9News. Business slowed slightly on subsequent days, according to shop owners, but many stores still had lines of waiting customers.

"Every day that we've been in business since January 1 has been better than my best day of business ever," said Andy Williams, owner of Denver's Medicine Man dispensary.

The larger shops reported selling 50 to 60 pounds of cannabis in the first week. Smaller shops sold 20 to 30 pounds, according to proprietors.

Colorado residents may legally buy up to an ounce of marijuana per transaction. Tourists can buy one-fourth ounce, about 7 grams.

Colorado: Denver City Council Decriminalizes Marijuana For Young Adults


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council on Monday passed an ordinance to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 18 to 21 years old.

A range of fines can be assessed for cannabis possession under the measure, but no jail time. Until now, violators had faced heavy fines and up to a year behind bars, reports The Denver Post.

Amendment 64, the marijuana legalization measure approved by Colorado voters last year, only legalized cannabis for those 21 and older.

Fines will now be $150 for a first offense of marijuana possession, for those 18-21; $500 for a second offense; and $999 for subsequent offenses.

The council also passed a separate measure to keep marijuana that is on city-owned property at least 1,000 feet away from schools.

(Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Colorado: Denver Council Moves To Decriminalize Marijuana For Minors


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council has moved to prevent minors who are caught with marijuana from being punished too harshly.

Amendment 64, the cannabis legalization measure passed by voters last year, removes many penalties for adults, but people under 21 were left open to criminal charges that could stay on their permanent record, reports CBS Denver.

Members of the city council want possession of marijuana by minors to become a civil charge, subject to a petty fine but with no lasting legal consequences.

"We do not want this age group to have their legs cut off before they get started in life," said City Council Member Albus Brooks.

Brooks sponsored the new ordinance, calling it "in the spirit" of Amendment 64.

A final vote on the measure will be taken December 23; it is expected to pass unanimously.

(Graphic: Huffington Post)

Colorado: It's Legal To Smoke Marijuana On Your Front Porch, Says Denver City Council


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved allowing adults to smoke marijuana on their front porches and private property, even if it's in clear public view.

In a 10-3 final vote, the council approved a measure eliminating the controversial front-yard cannabis smoking ban introduced last month, which had previously appeared poised to pass with a 7-5 vote, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

"Fortunately, common sense ultimately prevailed," said Mason Tvert, a key supporter of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in Colorado. "If adults are able to consume alcohol -- and even smoke cigarettes -- outside on their own property, there's no logical reason why they should be prohibited from using a less harmful substance," said Tvert, who is communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"City officials need to move on and focus their time and attention on getting the necessary regulations in place to ensure these businesses are able to open on January 1," Tvert said. "There is no need for further proposals designed to prevent adults from being able to use marijuana responsibly."

A widely reviled first draft of the law would have banned even the smell of marijuana, or the sight of someone smoking marijuana, if it could be smelled or seen by anyone else.

Colorado: Denver Considers Limiting Home Cultivation of Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council, busily making rules around marijuana use ever since Colorado voters decided to legalize cannabis with the Amendment 64 vote last year, will next week decide whether to limit the number of pot plants that can grown at home.

The ordinance would allow up to six marijuana plants per adult for recreational use to be grown in a home, but set a maximum of 12 plants per dwelling unit, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.

Some cannabis advocates say the plan would disproportionately affect veterans and medical marijuana patients, but Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who sponsors the ordinance, claimed it comes from "safety concerns."

"The police are very worried about the homegrows and the problems they could cause, fires, pesticide use, the mold, structural damage, children who might be living in these areas and THC on surface areas," Robb claimed. "They really want to be able to go in and have law enforcement ability to do our zoning."

Robb's supposed concerns, which echo the talking points of an anti-pot group called Smart Colorado, "seem pretty weak," according to Jacob Sullum at Forbes.

Colorado: Recriminalization? Denver Council Bans 'Visible' Pot Smoking In Yards and On Balconies


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ignoring opposition from marijuana advocates and civil libertarians, the Denver City Council on Monday night voted to ban people from smoking legal marijuana in private yards or on balconies if the activity can be seen from the street or sidewalk.

The council passed the measure on a 7-5 vote on the first reading, report Lance Hernandez and Jaclyn Allen at The Denver Channel.

"Everyone up here tonight is going to make some enemies," Councilman Charlie Brown, normally a strong advocate of regulating marijuana, told his fellow council members. "I can't support it," he said. "I believe in individual property rights."

"Government can't solve all these problems," Brown said. "And neither can our police department."

"I would rather see police going after serious drug problems than playing security patrol for the Stepford Wives," one opponent of the ordinance told the council.

But a parent who favors the ordinance claimed that allowing residents to smoke cannabis in their front yards "undermines our conversations with our children by making it appear OK." (Umm... wait, I thought it was legal now?)

It's ridiculous that people can drink on their own property, but are prohibited from smoking marijuana in the same locations, according to cannabis advocate Mason Tvert, a major backer of Amendment 64, the legalization measure approved last year by Colorado voters.

Colorado: Denver Council Fights Over Where To Allow Marijuana Smoking


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council on Monday continued to wrestle with the issue of where, exactly, it's OK to smoke marijuana now that it's legal in Colorado. Marijuana advocates are protesting a proposed ordinance that would make it illegal to consume cannabis, even on private property, if it's in public view.

About half the council believes adults should be free to smoke marijuana in their front yards -- after all, it's their own private property. They call the policy hypocritical. The others want the law to forbid people from doing so where others can see the "display."

Council members may take their cue from Aspen, which recently passed its own consumption rules. Aspen's rules allow people to follow the same guidelines as with alcohol, under which it's OK for people to smoke pot on their own property.

One of the most vocal opponents in the debate is Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who wants public consumption of marijuana to be banned. Robb's amendment would ban smoking in front of a house, in the front yard, on a front porch or on a balcony if it could be visible from a public street or a sidewalk.

Robb was working Monday night to find a majority of votes on the 13-member council, which requires 7 votes. Monday's night vote is the first of two that would be required for the legislation to become city law; the final vote is set for December 2.

Colorado: Hundreds Line Up For Free Joints In Marijuana Tax Protest


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hundreds of excited people lined up in Denver's Civic Center Park on Monday to get a free joint, as part of a protest against Colorado's plan to heavily tax recreational marijuana.

The protest was courtesy of the No On Proposition AA campaign, which opposes a plan calling for a 10 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis with the option of going as high as 15 percent (with an additional 15 percent excise tax), reports CBS Denver.

According to spokesman Robert Corry, an attorney who represents clients in the medical marijuana business, state leaders are backing a plan that over-taxes cannabis sales, and that's not what voters approved when they passed Amendment 64 last November.

"We have one of the leading alcohol industries in the world here in our state with less than a one percent tax," Corry said. "That's what the marijuana tax ought to be. That's what we support."

Supporters of Proposition AA, including Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, claim the money is necessary for "proper regulation" of cannabis.

"We will all be affected by this industry and we need to be ready for it -- administratively, from the police perspective and from a public health perspective, and that's what we need this money for," Brown claimed.

Colorado: Denver DA's Claims of a Violent Medical Marijuana Industry Questioned


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey on Monday made a startling claim about the medical marijuana industry just before the Denver City Council's decision to ask voters to approve a 5 percent sales tax for cannabis: That the industry is plagued by violence.

"We have had 12 homicides related directly to medical marijuana," Morrissey claimed, reports Jeremy P. Meyer of The Denver Post. "We have had over 100 aggravated robberies and home invasions. Many of you probably didn't read about the double-execution-style homicide that we had down here in Denver, where people were laid down on the floor and executed because they were running a medical marijuana outlet."

After being questioned on Tuesday, the DA backtracked, claiming the numbers he presented on Monday to the council were "loose figures" and admitting that none of the murders occurred in a medical marijuana facility.

Medical marijuana industry figures at Monday's city council meeting had been shocked by Morrissey's claims.

The DA was unfairly casting a bad light on the legally regulated dispensaries, according to Michael Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group.

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